A VETERAN Labour activist is protesting against the possible closure of a library set to celebrate its 50-year anniversary next year.

A cross-party group of Southend councillors has recommended Southend Council hand over Westcliff, Southchurch and either Leigh or Kent Elms libraries to volunteers to run as “community libraries” to save £378,000.

But Reg Copley, Labour candidate for St Laurence ward, has called for Kent Elms library to be kept fully-staffed.

Mr Copley, of Orchard Grove, Eastwood, a former mayor who served for more than 40 years as a Southend councillor, vowed to fight any move to axe the library. He said: “I was one of many local residents who campaigned vigorously in the Fifties for a local branch library to be established in Eastwood and eventually Southend Council produced plans to build what became Kent Elms branch library. That opened in July 1964 and is now set the celebrate a half-century of vital service to all sections of the community.

“I will be leading the fight to keep the library open and fullystaffed with professionals.”